Product Liability is the legal and ethical responsibility of a manufacturer or vendor of goods to compensate for injuries caused by their defective merchandise.
When individuals are harmed by an unsafe product, they may have a Cause of Action against the persons who designed, manufactured, sold, or furnished that product.
Theories of Liability
In most jurisdictions, a plaintiff’s cause of action may be based on one or more of four different theories: Negligence, breach of Warranty, Misrepresentation, and strict tort liability.
Negligence refers to the absence of, or failure to exercise, proper or ordinary care. It means thatan individual who had a legal obligation either omitted to do what should have been done or did something that should not have been done.A manufacturer can be held liable for negligence if lack of reasonable care in the production, design, or assembly of the manufacturer’s product caused harm. For example, a manufacturing company might be found negligent if its employees did not perform their work properly or if management sanctioned improper procedures and an un-safe product was made.
Breach of Warranty
Breach of warranty refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the terms of a promise, claim, or representation made concerning the quality or type of the product. The law assumes that a seller gives certain warranties concerning goods that are sold and that he or she must stand behind these assertions.
Misrepresentation in the advertising and sales promotion of a product refers to the process of giving consumers false security about the safety of a particular product, ordinarily by drawing attention away from the hazards of its use. Anaction lies in the intentional concealment of potential hazards or in negligent misrepresentation. The key to recovery on the basis of misrepresentation is the plaintiff’s ability to prove that he relied upon the representations that were made. Misrepresentation can be argued under a theory of breach of express warranty or a theory of strict tort liability.
The rule of strict liability applied in product liability suits makes a seller responsible for all defective items that unreasonably threaten the personal safety of a consumer or the consumer’s property.
Examples of defective products are:
- Medicines or foods of drinks containing a poisonous substances
- Defectively designed or manufactured machines like a car or a motorcycle
- Items that without adequate warning or proper instructions